Understanding technology integration into the classroom as a systemic and socially situated initiative
Abstract: This paper presents the main findings of a study exploring primary teachers’ beliefs and practices with educational technology, through a sociocultural lens. The research setting involved an exemplary case – a model school in terms of technology integration, on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The study sample consisted of teachers serving at the model school and Educational Ministry officials, while data collection methods included a brief questionnaire-based survey, interviews and classroom observations. Engestrom’s Activity Theory model was employed both as a theoretical framework and an analytical tool. Despite the favourable technology conditions in the setting, findings suggest a weak link between teacher use of technology and the lesson objectives, with several explicit and implicit tensions at the teacher, school and system levels, affecting technology integration. The Activity Theory proved valuable in interpreting the findings and considering educational technology in its broader context, as a systemic and socially situated initiative. The implications of this study, especially regarding the sociocultural issues behind the integration of technology into schooling, contribute further to our understanding of the requirements for successful implementation of the initiative at different but certainly interactive and interdependent levels.
Presider: Rhonda Christensen, University of North Texas